The Serpent Grail - Philip Gardiner

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A review by author of The Essence of Sufism, John Baldock.

For centuries people have been intrigued by the mysterious objects known as the Holy Grail, the Elixir of Life, and the Philosopher's Stone. For many of us, these three enigmatic objects have their source in Arthurian legend, or in the curious work of the medieval alchemists who sought to transform base metals into gold. In the Serpent Grail, authors Gardiner and Osborn reveal that the origin of these legendary objects dates from a much earlier period - from the dawn of human history itself.

The culmination of many years research, The Serpent Grail takes the reader on a fascinating exploration of ancient myth, archaeology, etymology, religion, science, and much more. In keeping with true Grail tradition, the book is also a journey in search of the enlightenment and eternal life that were the reward for those who uncovered the secrets of the Grail, the Elixir, or the Stone. As the authors reveal, these three objects have their origin in the shamanic tradition and in the 'serpent cult' that was once a global religion. Contrary to modern belief, the serpent was not a symbol of evil. For our distant ancestors, it symbolized the beneficent life-force or source-centre of the universe. It also embodied the spiritual rebirth and enlightenment that are the birthright of us all. Moreover, the mysterious 'serpent beings' and 'serpent deities' of ancient myth were real people. They were the enlightened leaders and guides of the world's earliest civilizations.

But for our ancestors the mythical serpent was more than just a symbol of eternal life and enlightenment. The authors discovered that the serpent's physical counterpart - the snake - was greatly valued by the ancients for its venom and its ability to both kill and cure. Through neutralizing the natural poison in the venom by mixing it with blood, they developed an elixir - the Elixir of Life - that not only healed disease, it also boosted the immune system and extended human life by many years. This elixir and its healing properties fell into disrepute in the nineteenth century thanks to the 'snake oil' peddled by charlatans. In our own time, however, modern medical science is once again discovering the beneficial properties of snake venom and other derivatives from the snake in the successful treatment of human disease.


The Serpent Grail is also a journey into the world of the shaman, whose knowledge of 'other worlds' was gained during his travels to the source of consciousness while in the hypnagogic trance-state. These travels, which were equated with entering the womb of the World Mother, gave him an understanding of the blueprint - the underlying matrix - of life itself. The knowledge thus gained by the shaman parallels the discoveries of modern science. But whereas scientists express their discoveries in scientific terms, the shaman expressed his knowledge in the form of myths about gods and goddesses, and in myths that eventually gave birth to the mysteries of the Grail, the Elixir of Life, and the Philosopher's Stone.


This groundbreaking book is illustrated with many original photographs taken during Gardiner's travels around the world in search of the truth behind the Grail, the Elixir, and the Stone. Knowing of the author's future works I can only say that you will need to fully grasp this book by the enlightened horns before you will be able to proceed.

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